Belle's Best Bets: Gulfstream Park Longshots, Key NBA Play

Eclipse Sportswire

America’s Best Racing, Belle Premium American Vodka, and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend.

Vág will identify her top picks as well as at least one longshot play of the weekend, a nice opportunity to swing for the fences on a win bet or to take a shot with a show bet. She also will occasionally look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

Belle Premium American Vodka is the official vodka of America’s Best Racing. The American-made, American-owned vodka is distilled in Virginia, the birthplace of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in North America. The company’s mascot, Belle ‘n Tonic, broke her maiden at Laurel Park in Maryland last April.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, Feb. 23

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $75,000 Melody of Colors Stakes, 3:58 p.m. ET

#5 Ginger Nut: He has shipped in from England after doing really well within the graded stakes ranks there. All of his races have been sprinting where he has excelled, so Saturday’s short sprinting distance should work well. Although he hasn’t raced since August, he has been in the U.S. for quite some time putting in some steady workouts from December.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes, 4:58 p.m. ET

#5 Copper Town: A lot of runners entered today have had temperament issues or troubled racing runs which have affected their placing order and harmed their stat lines. This runner is no exception to that statement, and has been bumped in two straight recent races, and didn’t take well to the track last time out. He has shown some flashes of being super great though, and if he can stay out of racing trouble, he could certainly make light work of the field at a very nice price.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 12, $75,000 Texas Glitter Stakes, 5:28 p.m. ET

#9 Gladiator King: The price is very fair on a runner who returns to a surface where he has found the most success at, and takes a substantial drop in class. His early speed should help overcome the outside post, and hopefully he is on or near the front end today. Look for this runner to flourish in the return to racing much shorter and facing off against easier.

Longshot Play

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:15 p.m. ET

#9 Alleva: His prior three efforts on the turf have been solid, and he narrowly missed out on two maiden breaking wins getting passed late at the wire.  The shortening in distance today could prove very useful, as well as the early speed he has shown to break well out of the gate. Drawing outside in the downhill turf sprint could actually prove to be an asset, as there is often a lot of bumping and shuffling back of positions early on with the first turn approaching quickly.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, Feb. 23

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers @ New Orleans Pelicans

PICK: First-half game total OVER (line TBD): The Pelicans and Lakers have both surrendered a lot of points early on the defensive end with the Pels surrendering a league-high average of 60.4 in the first half, and the Lakers over their most recent three games have given up 69 on average. Both teams have offenses that score early and often, ranking in the top 10 in first-half points per game. Back the first-half game total OVER, as there should be fireworks and minimal defense played early on.

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